First Ads Go Up Against North Carolina's Anti-Gay Amendment 1

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Republican legislators in North Carolina succeeded in putting Amendment 1 on the ballot for the May 8 election. The law is written so broadly that it would not only ban gay marriage, but civil unions and domestic partnerships not only for LGBT couples, but for straight couples as well. A broad coalition of more than 100 groups is vigorously fighting against the Amendment, and they went on television Monday with their first ads.

The first two ads highlight the unintended consequences of passing such a law. One features a woman who had been violently abused by a man she wasn't married to, expressing fear that Amendment 1 would invalidate the protection order that keeps her and her daughter safe. The second ad features a mother who is fearful that Amendment 1 will take away her daughter's health insurance because she isn't married. Both ads are powerful reminders that the people behind laws like Amendment 1 don't really care about the people who are harmed by their policies.

Adam Bink makes the case that the Amendment can be defeated:

If you follow conventional wisdom, you probably took one quick look at: (a) a map, (b) a poll, (c) a date on the calendar, (d) the issue, and concluded by thinking, Oh, North Carolina is a conservative southern state, May 8 (Election Day) is primary day for Republican presidential candidates, more than 50% of North Carolina voters say they'd vote for Amendment One, marriage is an icky gay issue. This is a sure loser.

But smart politics isn't about a glance at whatever the media tell us matters most. Some of the biggest upsets have come unexpectedly because underlying dynamics go ignored.

...

1. North Carolina voters support Amendment One ... until they learn what it does...

2. Conservative support for Amendment One is crumbling...

3. The pro-equality coalition opposing Amendment One is diverse, deep and unified...

4. The conventional wisdom that only Republicans will vote in this election is flat-out wrong...

5. Opponents of Amendment One have stepped up to help fund the campaign...

6. Supporters of LGBT rights can defeat this kind of amendment...

7. North Carolina isn't just another southern state...

8. The nationwide trend in favor of relationship recognition for same-sex couples has never been stronger.

Celinda Lake argues that this is an important moment in the movement for LGBT equality:

I mean we have been in our movement on the run on kids for decades. And it’s time to take it back. And we can. We can in tough terrain, in a tough state, and I think we can change forever the terrain in which we’re operating – and that alone, I hope, will motivate people to give money to make sure that this campaign gets that message out. Because if start to run on kids and then we’re beaten badly – it’s the worst of all worlds. Because we didn’t get out our message on kids – people will think, ‘Oh, wow. We’ll never be able to win this thing on kids.’ And the answer is – Yes, we can! We can take it back. We can take this terrain back now.

And that’s the message that’s going to be taken into other states. And honestly, if we win with the children’s argument, I think it’s hard to overstate the difference this would make for this movement. As well as how everyone in this community is going to feel. It’s nice to be able to stand up for all of our kids for a change.

Early voting has already begun in North Carolina. The latest polling shows some momentum, with only 54 percent in favor of the Amendment—the lowest number since polling on the issue began. The ads will be vital in swinging that last four percent in the right direction. Opponents of the bill can help air the ads by contributing online.

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